Hundreds march in Quad Cities’ ‘No Hate’ rally

Emma Bernick, Media Editor

A ‘No Hate’ rally was held in Vander Veer Park on Wednesday, Aug.16. The event was organized by One Human Family QCA, a group formed last March to combat hate crimes locally. The rally was in response to recent distribution of white supremacist fliers in Davenport.

One Human Family QCA organizer Reverend Richard Hendricks kicked off the rally with a speech about the event’s purpose.

“Today we gather because we already fought as a nation against Nazis and we don’t want to have to fight them again. We gather to show the world we are a loving, inclusive community that values diversity. We gather in love as one human family,” Hendricks said.

Approximately 500 people came to march around the park on Brady Street and Central Park Avenue. Community members walked along the sidewalk chanting “no hate” and with signs expressing their feelings of wanting peace and love for the world. Many cars driving by honked their horns as a symbol of agreement with the marchers.

Some attendees were there in support of human rights and to address their issues with President Trump.

“I am here for multiple reasons. I am married to a woman. I have hispanic siblings. I have been a bleeding liberal my entire life, but most importantly I am here because I am a human being,” community member Teri Vonya said. “I am also here because of the remarks Trump made yesterday. We cannot let someone who openly discriminates and hates run our country. I shouldn’t have to be here with everyone today. If [Trump] were presidential, I would be at home right now.”

Others came to show their support for victims of violent attacks.

“I came to support people who have been targeted, especially in Charlottesville. Racism is not okay,” West alumni Joe Golden said.

Some counter-protesters were in attendance to advocate for their First Amendment right of free speech.

“I feel that everyone is entitled to have their own opinion. Just because your opinion is different doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to share your thoughts,” counter-protester John Freemen said. “I don’t believe there is anything that defines hate speech necessarily. To me, hate speech is the direct threat of violence, which I don’t condone. Anything other than that is free speech,” Freemen said.

The individuals were later escorted out of the park by police because the organizers of the rally had a permit and the protesters did not.